State law authorizes Ohio townships to operate under a basic form of government and perform a wide variety of functions. Townships most commonly provide residents with services such as road maintenance, cemetery management, police and fire protection, emergency medical services, solid waste disposal, and zoning.
Township trustees also have responsibilities for ditches, drains and other surface waters; line fences between adjacent properties; township hospitals or township hospital districts; and the control of weeds and brush. Trustees also have permissive authority to erect monuments to commemorate those who died in the service of their country, and a board of township trustees may provide artificial lighting when it is determined that public safety requires such lighting. The township may install its own lighting system or contract with an electric company.
Townships receive revenue from local property taxes and from the gasoline and motor vehicle license taxes, as well as the local government fund from the state. Increases in property taxes must be approved by voters. Townships collect less than 6 percent of local property taxes in Ohio.
Ohio Home Rule
Townships possess only those powers expressly delegated to them by statute, or those which are reasonably implied from those delegated, which include the powers previously mentioned here. In general, townships do not possess broad police powers or the ability to provide for public health.
An exception to this general rule is found in Chapter 504 of the Ohio Revised Code, which permits certain townships with at least 2,500 residents in an unincorporated area to adopt a limited home-rule government. If adopted, limited home-rule townships may exercise “all powers of self-government,” subject to certain exceptions. Such authority is limited to the unincorporated areas of the township and resolutions of the township may only be enforced by civil fines up to $1,000.
SOURCE: Ohio Township Association